After engaged documentaries and genre experiments, director Michael Winterbottom returns with an adaptation of Jim Thompson’s 1952 novel. A small-town deputy acts like the polite boy next door to cover up an explosive and dangerous temper that soon leads to tragedy. Even as the noose around him tightens, he manages to maintain the façade. Winterbottom masterfully stylizes a noir thriller showing violence bubbling beneath daily small talk, sweet country songs, and coffee ‘on the house’. Casey Affleck raises his game with subtle and ironic acting that catapults him into Hollywood’s top leading men and his character into the pantheon of those created by Tarantino, Stone, or the Coen borthers. Much like with the Coens work, the film offers a diagnosis of the American subconscious, where, as noted by Peter Bradshaw in ‘The Guardian’, [The film] is a particular distillation of male hate, as practised by repulsive and inadequate individuals who have been encouraged to see themselves as essentially decent by virtue of the trappings of authority in which they have wrapped themselves. And Winterbottom is tearing off the mask; like Michael Haneke, he is confronting the audience with the reality of sexual violence and abusive power relations between the sexes that cinema so often glamourises. Here, the movie is saying, here is the denied reality behind every seamy cop show, every sexed-up horror flick, every picturesque Jack the Ripper tourist attraction, every swooning film studies seminar on the Psycho shower scene. Here.
Born in 1961 in Blackburn, England. He graduated from Oxford with a degree in English and studied film at Bristol University. Winterbottom’s debut documentary films about Bergman and Scandinavian cinema. After television productions and a cinematic debut, Butterfly Kiss (1995), he won acclaim with the Cannes-screened Welcome to Sarajevo (1997) and his cross-section of London’s middle-classes in Wonderland (1999). Winterbottom showed off his versatility in a wide range of films, such as sci-fi romance Code 46 (2003), costume pastiche, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2005) or the buddy comedy The Trip (2010). He often produces socially engaged films that criticize the 24-hour news chase (Welcome to Sarajevo), anti-immigration laws (In This World, 2002), war on terror (The Road to Guantanamo, 2006) or the global economy (The Shock Doctrine, 2009).
1995 Butterfly Kiss
1997 Aleja Snajperów / Welcome to Sarajevo
2006 Droga do Guantanamo / The Road to Guantanamo (dok. / doc.)
2009 Doktryna szoku / The Shock Doctrine (dok. / doc.)
2010 Morderca we mnie / The Killer Inside Me